Targeting Islam And The Reality Of Multiculturalism

2501 words - 10 pages

Since 1982, and the creation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms; Canada has asserted itself in the promotion of multiculturalism and equality for all citizens. Multiculturalism is defined as "the doctrine that several different cultures, rather than one national culture, can coexist peacefully and equitably in a single country" (Web Dictionary). Canada is a democratic society, which stands to address the needs and desires of individuals in a fair and open approach. In addressing multiculturalism, understanding how some specific groups may be at a significant disadvantage based on their perception in society. It is argued that the ideals and laws incorporated in the Islamic religion and culture, make it challenging for individuals to successfully immigrate and adapt into a western democratic society. There are significant challenges in all aspects of their lives, that make them find it difficult in adopting a new way of living, while still adhering to their own faith and culture. Post September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks have left Canadian immigrants and citizens who are of the Islamic religion and culture, the most scrutinized members in a country that promotes multiculturalism. This is due to negative media portrayal, the failure of the government by perpetuating fear and allowing concepts like Islamophobia to be produced and felt among citizens.
Multiculturalism was the forefront for the creation of the Charter and the advancement of equality. Pierre Trudeau's policy was about ensuring the cultural freedom of Canadians. Cultural freedom as an expression is meant "to break down discriminatory attitudes and cultural jealousies. Attitudes and jealousies are rooted in cultural insecurity and this can be reduced by ensuring that individuals are free to be whoever they choose culturally" (Forbes, 2007). While understanding what the Charter was created to achieve, there are also challenges it faces such as backlash from citizens. Not everything can be legislated but if we give power for social thinking that recognize cultures, the breakdown would be easier. These cultures ought to be valued and not seen as a threat in order to make people want to celebrate diversity. Cultural relativism is a watered down version of accepting everyone's culture. Rather than saying what is right or wrong you accept that people do something a certain way, because of their individual upbringing. This itself is not a successful strategy to see multiculturalism thrive. Promoting multiculturalism in writing is an easy concept to suggest to citizens but ensuring that is followed in everyday life is where the real challenges begin to manifest themselves.
So if it is suggested that the Islamic religion is one of the three main religions in Canada, Judaism and Christianity being the other two; why is the Islamic faith so scrutinized? Canadian society presents itself as being a liberal democratic nation-state, thus securing the freedoms of every individual...

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